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The flowering season in May / June, the Pfaffenhütchen (Euonymus) is quite unimpressive, but in the fall it has the nose in front: The leaves are colored, depending on the species bright yellow orange to intense lilac. Skillful support comes from the orange-crimson fruit capsules, reminiscent of the headdress of clerics - hence the name. The pretty shrubs are also called spindle shrubs, as they used to make weaving spindles out of their wood. Also under the name Korkflügelstrauch one finds in the tree nursery, some kinds carry fine Rindenleisten on the branches.
Three times Pfaffenhütchen
In the garden, three main species play a role: the large-fruited (Euonymus planipes), the winged (Euonymus alatus), and the European primate (Euonymus europaeus). The first two are characterized by a particularly intense autumn color. They best come into their own in individual positions, where they naturally unfold uncut. The Winged Spiked Hat grows slower than its relatives and more in width. It reaches only three meters in height, the variety "Compactus" even only one meter and is therefore also suitable for the bucket. The European Pfaffenhütchen is the only representative native to us, one finds it in game hedges and at forest edges. Also in the garden, it fits best in natural hedges.
The leaf color of the Pfaffenhutchens in the autumn is spectacular
The right planting place
Choose a sunny spot for a cherub hat. Although the shrubs thrive in the semi-shade, the autumn leaves are not so intense. Otherwise Pfaffenhütchen are frugal and get along with every garden floor. The native Pfaffenhütchen tolerates even heavy wet soil. All varieties form dense fine roots, which are mostly in the topsoil. Do not plant shrubs with perennials or bulbous flowers.
You can promote the fruit set with some compost. The European and the large-fruited "Pfaffenhütchen" are particularly abundant, especially when several shrubs grow together and pollinate each other. The capsules appear in summer after flowering. In autumn, they turn red and, when they jump open, free the view of the orange seed hulls. They are the favorite food of the robin and other bird species, but highly toxic to humans. After the fall of leaves, the winged prawn hatches with another attraction: Then the corky ridges of the bark become visible.
Creeping spindles, here the variety "Emerald'n Gold", are slowly climbing up on climbing aids
The evergreen relatives
The climbing or crawling spindles (Euonymus fortunei) one does not see their close relationship to the Pfaffenhütchen. The evergreen, low-growing shrubs are usually used in the garden as ground cover. However, they can slowly grow up on house walls or trellises with their anchoring roots, but rarely reach more than two meters in height. Popular varieties include white or yellow-tinged leaves such as "Emerald Gaiety" and "Emerald'n Gold". They almost never bear fruit, but if you do, you recognize their relationship to the Pfaffenhütchen. Creeping spindles are very frugal and can cope with deep shadows and root pressure. The similar Japanese spindle shrub (Euonymus japonicus) survives the winter only in sheltered places.